Virtual Oktoberfest: Milwaukee’s Beer Line, October 6

Join author John Kelly on Tuesday, October 6 for a virtual Oktoberfest! Crack open your favorite seasonal Octoberfest and join us for a lecture on the history of the Milwaukee Road’s beer line. 
Since statehood, beer has played an integral role in the growth of Wisconsin industry, while bringing Milwaukee national fame. What might be less obvious, but no less important, was the profound role that rail transportation played in this story. This lecture will look at the rise, fall, and rise again of Milwaukee’s beer industry through the eyes of the Milwaukee Road’s Beer Line.
This event is free.
Share your favorite Octoberfest with us during the presentation on Twitter @railphotoart
John Kelly grew up in Eau Claire, Wisconsin and fostered an interest for railroads since a young age. As a teenager he enjoyed watching Chicago & North Western, Milwaukee Road, and Soo Line trains, which all passed though his hometown. His interest in railroad history stuck with him all his life, leading him to write articles for Trains magazine,, and Vintage Rails, as well as author several books, including Streamliners to the Twin Cities, Interurban Trains to Chicago, Chicago Stations, Trains to Victory—American Railroads in World War II, and Railroads of Milwaukee
Milwaukee Road switch engine at the Schlitz Brewery in the 1950s. Photograph by Wallace W. Abbey, collection of the Center for Railroad Photography & Art, Abbey-01-084-02.

Creativity & Covid

Despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, our creative spirit is alive and well. In late June, we sent out a call for submissions to our members, asking how you were faring during this time. More than seventy of you responded by sending us nearly 200 images from around the world, along with heartfelt descriptions of your time so far.

We expanded the fall 2020 issue of Railroad Heritage to an all-time high of eighty-four pages, dedicating forty-eight of those pages to sharing your submissions. Even then, we ran out of room, and so we also created a web gallery for additional content.

To see the results, you can browse our web gallery and order a copy of the magazine if you do not already have one. To everyone who submitted work for our consideration, all of us at the Center send you our great thanks. It has been a privilege and an inspiration to see your works and read your words.

Railroad Heritage 62: Fall 2020

Virtual Conversations: Fall Edition

As the global health situation continues, we were sadly forced to make the necessary decision to reschedule Conversations Northeast at the University of Connecticut from September 19, 2020 to Fall 2021.

Push any sad thoughts about missing out on another CRP&A gathering aside, however, as we are pleased to announce Virtual Conversation: Fall Edition, coming to cyberspace Saturday, September 19, 2020.

Registration Closed
Member: $20
Non-member: $30
Registration closes Thursday, September 17, 5:00 P.M. (U.S. Central)

This conference will feature awe-inspiring photographers from around the globe:

  • Apurva Bahadur (India), “A Showcase of Indian Railways”
  • Darryl Bond (New Zealand), “In Search of Something Different”
  • Frederick Simon (United States), railroad photography in the Great Plains and Inland Northwest
  • Laura Smith (United States), University of Connecticut’s digital collections, “The Railroad History Collections in the University of Connecticut Archives”
  • Mike Valentine (Austria) & Rolf Stumpf (Germany), “European Photography, Then-and-Now”
  • Roger Watt (Canada), “Drawing the Line”

This program will be hosted live online on Cisco Webex Events.

For detailed step-by-step instructions on how to download and use Webex, please review this CRP&A Webex Users Guide

We are continuing to learn and familiarize ourselves with Cisco’s Webex Events.
For access to our programs:
  1. Create a Cisco Webex Account (
  2. Download the Webex Meetings Desktop App and/or the Cisco Webex Meetings phone or tablet app, depending on where you will be viewing the programs
  3. Register for the event
Enter the program from a home-secured Internet server; issues have been experienced with university and/or government protected networks. The best way to enter the event is through the link in the email invitation – not through a electronic calendar or through the desktop application directly.
Slow Internet can have significant effects on the program’s speed and sometimes create barriers when entering the program itself. We recommend logging on several minutes ahead of time to iron out any potential network latency issues.

Southbound BCN freighter overtakes 315 Pune – Kolhapur passenger train at Alandi, near Pune, India, on January 26, 2008. Photograph and copyright by Apurva Bahadur

A loaded Ulan coal train arrives just before light evaporates in Hunter Valley, Australia, on August 2, 2019. Photograph and copyright by Darryl Bond

Virtual Launch Party For Our New Book: The Railroad Photography of Donald W. Furler

Tuesday, August 25, 2020
7:00-8:00 P.M. (U.S. Central), on Cisco Webex

Now Available on YouTube

Join author Scott Lothes for a virtual launch of the Center’s newest publication, The Railroad Photography of Donald W. Furler. The 216-page hardcover book presents 200 stunning images, printed as rich duotones and showcasing the emergence of railroad action photography during the final years of steam in the Northeast. The Furler Collection is a cornerstone of the Center’s archive, and we are proud to present this long-overdue monograph. 
Lothes will take you behind-the-scenes for both the making of the book and his own fascination with Furler’s photography. Lothes will describe how he went about selecting which photographs to include from the 5,000 in the collection, while sharing a few of his favorites that made the final cut as well as some others that did not. He will also discuss the Center’s archival work, the overall strengths of this collection, and the fascinating industrial landscape of the northeastern United States that formed the backdrop for Furler’s photography. 
This event is free, and attendees will have the opportunity to pre-order the book and receive free shipping. 
Scott Lothes became the Center’s executive director in 2011, after serving on its staff part-time since 2008. In 2013 he succeeded John E. Gruber as the Center’s president and editor of its journal, Railroad Heritage. Lothes is an accomplished photographer and author, with more than seventy bylined articles in magazines including Classic Trains, Locomotive, NRHS Bulletin, Railfan & Railroad, Railroads Illustrated, and Trains, as well as two front-page travel stories in newspapers. In addition to authoring and editing The Railroad Photography of Donald W. Furler, he is coauthor of Wallace W. Abbey: A Life in Railroad Photography, and he has contributed forewords and chapters to five other books.

The first section of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey Circus Train heads east over the Lehigh and Hudson River Railroad behind 4-8-2 locomotive 10 on a damp June 13, 1948, near Burnside, New York. Photograph by Donald W. Furler, collection Center for Railroad Photography &Art, Furler-16-016-01

Following the Golden Spike: Time, Place, and Change Along the First Transcontinental Railroad

Drake Hokanson
Tuesday, August 18, 2020
7:00-8:00 P.M. (U.S. Central), on Cisco Webex

Now Available on YouTube

Terrace, Utah, showing ties left in place on the original Promontory transcontinental route. Drake Hokanson.
Join artist Drake Hokanson, contributing author and photographer to the Center’s publication After Promontory, in a re-photography trip along the original Union Pacific route in his virtual presentation, “Following the Golden Spike: Time, Place, and Change Along the First Transcontinental Railroad.”
Throughout the 150 years since the completion of the first transcontinental railroad, many parts of the 1,800-mile route between Omaha and Sacramento have changed enormously. Some sections are busy, three-track, state-of-the-art mainline; others are abandoned to the desert wind. In his presentation, Hokanson will address the broader history of railroads and photography and expand on how these two technologies came of age together in the nineteenth century and profoundly changed how we experienced the world. Through his black and white photographs, Drake Hokanson will explore the layered past, the natural and human geography, and the deeper meaning of this linear landscape.
Drake Hokanson is an author, photographer, and independent scholar who looks to the broad American land, its places, well-worn paths, people, and stories as the subjects for his photographs, books, exhibits, and essays. He is the author/co-author of three books, has edited and contributed to several others, and has exhibited photographs coast to coast. His other experience include teaching photography and nonfiction writing at the university level for some thirty years.